DSLR For Dummies- Aperture

We’re going to do today’s DSLR post a little different.  I’m going to share with you what I learned this week about aperture.  (There is an Ike photo at the end for those of you who aren't interested in this DSLR business!)  I’m glad to have this all written down because I will probably forget before next week’s lesson.

What does aperture mean to me?  How wide the shutter opens = how much light gets in

What is f-stop?  The f-stop controls how wide the shutter opens.
  • The smaller the f-stop = the more the shutter opens = more light in = faster shutter speed. 
  • The larger the f-stop = the less the shutter opens = less light in = slower shutter speed
  • Wow, that was intense.  This is the part I had to keep being reminded of.  It takes awhile to sink in.  You’ll get there.  Hopefully you learn faster than I do.
  • I got a notebook out after Nate repeated this to me about 212 times.  I'm studious.
What advantage is there to moving the camera from “auto” to “A”? Or I like “auto”.  Why should I rack my brain this hard? 
  • You get more control over the depth of field (blurriness of background).
  • In auto, the camera picks everything based on meter in the camera.
  • In A you can pick the f-stop and ISO.  The camera selects the shutter speed.
    • Side note on shutter speed: The faster the shutter speed, the less motion shown.  1/50 is faster than 1/20. (Ex. photographing sports you would use 1/1000.)
How do you know what f-stop to use?
  • low light (our house): smaller f-stop
  • blurry background (portrait): smaller f-stop
  • bigger depth of field (ex. landscape): larger f-stop
What should this f-stop business look like on the camera?


In the following photos I will share with you what f-stop I used.  Notice as the f-stop gets larger, the background (ex. the deck rails) will become more in focus.  Fancy.  And I got to touch the camera.  Super fancy.

f/3.5 (f-stop), 1/60s (shutter speed), ISO 800
f/8.0, 1/13s, ISO 800
f/22.0, 1/2s, ISO 800
Get your cameras out!  When you increased the f-stop, did you notice how long it took to take the picture?  Weird.  And it makes sense.  The larger the f-stop, the less light that gets in.  The less light that gets in, the longer it takes to take the picture (slower shutter speed).

And now, a cute picture of the Ike-man with my newly learned f-stop skills….

f/3.5, 1/30s, ISO 800
Any questions on aperture?  Nate will answer them because this is all I know.  Did you learn anything?  Who wants to snuggle with Ike?